You were a very imaginative child and we always supported it. Sometimes I think we overdid it.
Saying I was shocked doesn’t even begin to cover it. I was flabbergasted, didn’t understand where this notion came from, and my feelings were crushed. That’s not something you expect from your mum in a random conversation. I can’t even remember what we’d talked about. Suddenly, this statement dropped, my face fell and I asked in a squealing voice: “Why?!” Why did my mum think I’m too imaginative? Is there even such a thing as being too imaginative? Is it really a bad thing? After all, it definitely didn’t sound like a compliment. The answer surprised me. Apparently, my parents have figured me out much more than I believed:
Because you’re dreaming your life instead of living it.
I really couldn’t respond to that. In a nutshell, that’s truly my very essence of being. Just look at my Twitter bio: three words long and every single one refers to this statement: dreamer, readingrat, fangirl. Three words, three ways of dreaming.
It is true. Part of me is living inside my own world, my dream world. I’ve been doing this pretty much since I can think. Originally, I only escaped to this world when I went to bed. It was my way of passing the time, since it takes me ages to fall asleep. Nowadays, I’m escaping to my dream world whenever I’m doing something that doesn’t need my full attention to be done: commuting, going for a walk, cooking, cleaning, etc. It all started with a fictionalised dream version of my own life studded with elements from books and other stuff I came across. Who doesn’t want to get together with one’s futile crush, win Olympic medals, or be best friends with one’s favourite authors, actors, and musicians? The older I got, the more my imagination was running wild because I fuelled it with books, films, and TV series.
Reading, after all, is just another way of dreaming. It’s a way to escape reality, to crawl between the pages into a different world. And as nice as real life is, I prefer fantastical worlds, which is why fantasy is and always will be my favourite genre. But for me, a book doesn’t end when I close it after finishing; a film or TV series doesn’t end when I turn off the telly. For me, this is where it all begins. I just continue where I left off. In other words: I’ve been mentally writing fanfiction ever since I can think. I never write it down, but I live through it in my head, inventing myself anew: an elf, a witch, an angel, a mutant, a magician, a princess, a warrior, a girl right in the thick of the fray, falling in love with rogues and pirates and dark, brooding, mysterious and more or less evil guys, befriending heroes and heroines and helping them on their quests.
And yet, I do see my mum’s point. Instead of daydreaming, reading, and fangirling, I could go on actual real life adventures. Yes, I could go out and about a little more, but it’s not like I’d lock myself in, oh no! My imagination is the very essence of my being, it’s what makes me want to live and what forms my life in the best ways imaginable. Without it, I wouldn’t have made some of my best friends who I all met on the Internet, first through a message board about fantasy literature and now through book blogging. Without it, I wouldn’t have done some crazy stuff such as cutting off my beloved hair to portray a fictional character, doing crazy photo shootings, or sleeping on Leicester Square at the end of November to be in the first row at the Hobbit 3 World Premiere. Without it, I would never have found out why I have the perfect name, because I’d never have started writing a story in which the character lived in Dublin, I would never have spent my language course in 2008 there, I would never have fallen in love with Ireland, where I already spend a total of over six months of my life.
It’s my imagination that makes me dream big. It’s also what tests and challenges me, what makes me reach for the stars and prepares me to do everything in my power to get there. To catch one and turn the dream into reality. The current dream I’m reaching for: working in publishing; working with the things I love most: fictional worlds, breathtaking stories, and characters that touch my emotions one way or another. I’ve already cleared many obstacles and yet there are many more ahead. But I will never give up.
I do believe that there’s no such thing as too much imagination. There are just too many people afraid to dream.